Press Release

Rural Energy for American (REAP) Modernization Act a “Good First Step”

Bill would improve popular, bipartisan rural energy program, but more work is ahead

The Environmental Law and Policy Center, Organic Valley and the National Center for Appropriate Technology today welcomed the introduction of the REAP Modernization Act of 2023 as a good first step toward reauthorizing and improving the rural energy program as part of the 2023 Farm Bill.

The groups thanked Senator Tina Smith and Representatives Abigail Spanberger and David Valadao for introducing the new bill and re-committed to working with the Agriculture Committees to make further improvements beyond those in the Modernization Act.

ELPC’s Andy Olsen spoke for the coalition:

“REAP delivers for family farms and rural small businesses.  We are confident that provisions in the Reap Modernization Act will help make it a stronger program, and we will continue to ensure that REAP is further improved to be more accessible for the smaller operations it can best serve.”

A flock of sheep graze between solar panels, near a few people

White Oak Pastures sheep graze on a local solar farm, Georgia

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is the premier program in the Farm Bill’s Energy Title giving farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses the opportunity to invest in and benefit from energy efficiency and renewable energy. It gives these important constituencies a seat at the clean energy and climate solutions table while offering valuable costs savings.

The REAP Modernization Act of 2023 includes important updates:

  1. Recognizes the importance of lowering the carbon footprint reductions in projects carried out using REAP.
  2. Updates dollar amounts for small projects to account for inflation and market changes.
  3. Allows applications for the Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance subprogram to combine both the audit and project development in one grant.
  4. Increases the cost share for projects to 50% consistent with the REAP provisions in the IRA.
  5. Ensures that small operations whose home and business are shared can benefit from REAP renewable energy and energy efficiency invests without the need for a second meter.

Olsen concluded:

“Going forward, we will seek an increase in the portion of program funds set aside for small projects, inclusion of a rebate-style grant for pre-approved technologies, improved equity and access to the program for beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers, and guardrails on the Modernization Act’s large agricultural producer coops waiver provision.”

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